Nutrient cycles such as the carbon cycle, water cycle, or nitrogen cycle underlie much of our day-to-day, year-to-year activities and well-being. Is there a term or system of assessing how "healthy" or not nutrient cycles are for humanity or for net primary productivity overall? It's clear that certain qualities of storages and flows will either make life pretty good for us and other organisms, or make things pretty bad for us. I'm just not sure how to refer to that fact. Do experts in this field refer to nutrient cycles as being 'degraded' or 'restored', or how is it referred to?

Below paragraphs are just examples to clarify what I'm trying to get a vocabulary for regarding nutrient cycles.

The water cycle is an obvious example of this, where we need a goldilocks zone amount of water to thrive; too much water in the form of runoff, flooding, and erosion and we end up with numerous environmental costs or even loss of suitable habitat, too little water in the form of drought or degraded water quality and we end up with numerous environmental costs or even loss of suitable habitat. How do we refer to the water cycle that is suitable or unsuitable for us? What is it called when the nutrient cycle is altered to become better (I'd think "restored") or worse ("degraded")?

Nitrogen or carbon are probably the next best example cycles. On a global scale we are doing pretty major alterations to the natural flows and storages of these elements. On the one hand, pulling so much carbon out of long-term storages has benefited us in vast and various ways, but these benefits may be relatively short-lived if we degraded the nutrient cycle to the point that it worsens our habitat and strains our economies around the world.


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